Bollington Arts Centre

Bollington Festival Music Theatre

Update for Autumn 2021 (with fingers crossed!)
The Music Theatre is looking forward to a new lease of life after the strange times of the pandemic. With a hoped-for return to normality, Sunday afternoon rehearsals are planned from 12 September 2021, with a performance on Sunday 21 November – all dependent on, and compliant with, the latest government guidelines to ensure safety.

Please keep an eye on the Events page for confirmation of dates, times and further details.

Parents of children interested in joining can email bfmt@bollingtonartscentre.co.uk to request updates. Contacts will only receive essential messages about Music Theatre activities, and can unsubscribe at any time.

When the first lockdown struck in March 2020 the Music Theatre was a mere two weeks from performing Dr Johnson, I Presume, about the extraordinary childhood of the compiler of the famous Dictionary. Despite not being able to perform for an audience, cast members had donned costumes, taken up props, and rehearsed the script, songs and movement – valuable activity, learning and enjoyment in its own right.

As it will be almost Christmas 2021 when the group can next perform (all being well) the next show will be a seasonal one: Tales of the Christmas Travellers. Originally written for the group in 1988 and reprised in 1997, the 2021 version can adapt to the circumstances and to the numbers taking part.

In Tales of the Christmas Travellers six farm animals are fed up and squabbling. Donkey says they’re depressed and need a holiday. Cat reads books and watches telly in the farmhouse, and so knows the perfect destination – a stable break in Bethlehem where animals are welcome. As it’s a very long way, they’ll take turns to tell a bedtime story at the end of each day’s travelling.

Sheep is shy, and doesn’t know any stories. Ox is polite and lets the others go first. But Goat tells the Norwegian story of The Three Nanny Goats Gruff; Donkey the Ancient Greek fable of The Miller, his Son and their Ass; Rooster the French story of
Chanticleer and Pertelotte; and Cat the Portuguese folk story The Cat’s Tail.

Finally they reach their destination in time for a very special birth.

As always, there will be costumes, props, stage lighting, and live music for a performance. And as always in the Music Theatre’s 35 year history, there will be no auditions to join. Everyone can try it out at the free initial sessions, after which there’s a modest subscription to help cover costs, with casting decided in rehearsals.

The Music Theatre has performed regularly at the Arts Centre, and in every Bollington Festival since taking part in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in 1986. The group’s founder and director Donald Judge has written many shows for the group since Tales of the Christmas Travellers. Several are set in Bollington and draw on the town’s unique character and history.Others are inspired by folk tales (and folk music), legends and true stories from Britain, Europe and further afield.

The emphasis is on teamwork and developing musical and theatrical skills in a relaxed, supportive environment. Children often surprise themselves with what they can achieve in a short rehearsal time, while a frequent comment from parents is that being a part of the group raises their child’s confidence.

Cheshire’s unique performance group for 7-13s

The Music Theatre was formed in 1986 and since then has performed regularly at the Arts Centre, and in every Bollington Festival since taking part in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in 1986. There are always costumes, props, stage lighting, words and live music to help tell the stories.

There are no auditions to join. Everyone who comes along can be in the show, and casting is decided as part of the rehearsal process.

The group’s founder and director Donald Judge writes regularly for the group. Several of his pieces are set in Bollington and draw on the town’s unique character and history. Others are inspired by folk tales (and folk music), legends and true stories from Britain, Europe and further afield.

The emphasis is on teamwork and developing musical and theatrical skills in a relaxed, supportive environment. Children often surprise themselves with what they can achieve in a short rehearsal time, while a frequent comment from parents is that being a part of the group raises their child’s confidence.

Rehearsals for a new show begin early in September and January each year with free taster sessions for those interested, with performances in November / December and March / April. Please see the Events page for details of these or email bfmt@bollingtonartscentre.co.uk to request more information.

Please see the Events page for details of those taking place in the near future.

Contact details
 0161 225 4680


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